Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth

I'm the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.
I'm the only one who can warn her she's still in danger.
I know exactly who attacked her.
He's the same man who killed me.


The Life I Left Behind


This psychological thriller/whodunnit novel is told through the voices of three women. The first one, Eve, is actually dead, the victim of a murder. The second, Melody, was attacked and left for dead by the same culprit a few years before. Due to her injuries she's unable to remember what happened to her on that fateful night. A friend of hers, David Alden, was convicted and now released from prison the police are presuming he's responsible for Eve's untimely demise too. The third woman is Victoria, a Detective Inspector investigating the murder. Melody hasn't coped well over the years and has changed from a confident young woman to someone who hides herself away. Too scared to leave the house, she only ventures outside if she has someone with her and keeps herself busy by throwing herself into the plans for her wedding to fiance Sam in a few months' time.

I loved this novel and despite not having been in a reading mood (very unusual for me) I started this the same afternoon it arrived from Headline. I struggled to put it down; a cliche I know but true. It has everything a fan of psychological thrillers will enjoy and expect; twists, secrets gradually revealed throughout the story and to be kept guessing as to the identity of the murderer until the very end. 

I also enjoyed the author's first novel Precious Thing; you can read my review for it here and I shall certainly be reading any future novels by her. 


Rating: 4 out of 5


Thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr for a copy of this book 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Book Beginnings On Fridays (The Life I Left Behind)

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.


My book beginning is The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth. It's published by Headline on 1st January 2015 and I've been lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher.


The first thing that strikes him is the cold. When he comes in from the garden he's always greeted by a hot blast at the door, like running into a band of warm cotton wool. Except today there's no cotton wool. This is his first disappointment. Outside. Inside. If there is a change in temperature between the two it's so minuscule it doesn't register. It's certainly not enough to thaw his fingers, which are the pink of raw meat. He inhales.


The Life I Left Behind 


Book Description 


Five years ago Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead.
She coped by burying the person she was, locking away her memories and creating a new life for herself. Her attacker is behind bars. In four weeks' time she will get married. She's almost normal.
Then the body of another woman is found, close to where Melody was discovered. Like her she has blond hair and green eyes. Like Melody police find a gold bird cage necklace at the scene. And Melody realises her attacker has been out there all along.
The woman's name is Eve Elliot. Melody sets out to discover everything she can about Eve to work out why they were targeted. But the more she gets to know her the more she realises what's wrong with her own life. Eve may be dead but she's the only person who can teach Melody how to live again.


Book Blogger Hop (19th - 25th December)


The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Ramblings Of A Coffee Addicted Writer and this week's question is:


Do you write a review for every book you read or only review copies from publishers?


I write a review for all the ARCs I've received from publishers but not every book I read. Sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a book without thinking about what I'm going to say about it. I go through stages where reviewing can feel like a chore and reading should be all about relaxing and enjoying the novel. For that reason I try and keep my review/Netgalley requests down to a minimum where possible or only for books that I really want to read.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish and each week there's a different topic. As always, even if you can't think of 10, do as many as you can.

Here's my list (in no particular order) of the ten best books I've read in 2014:

Wake by Anna Hope

Wake is set in London during five days in November 1920 when the body of the unknown soldier is being brought home to England from France. It is also about three women who are linked in some way to each other, have all been affected by and are struggling to get over loss following World War I. This is a book you pick up to read just a few more pages only to find an hour later that you haven't managed to put it down.  Parts of the story are heartbreaking and it gets across very well what life must have been like during and after The Great War and what people had to contend with.

No Harm Can Come To A Good Man by James Smythe

ClearVista is used by everyone and can predict anything. It's a daily lifesaver, predicting weather to traffic to who you should befriend. Laurence Walker wants to be the next President of the United States. ClearVista will predict his chances. It will predict whether he's the right man for the job. It will predict that his son can only survive for 102 seconds underwater. It will predict that Laurence's life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way. Love all this author's books and think this is his best yet.

The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’  This novel is about Matthew and his battle with mental illness.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Lighthouse keeper Tom lives with his wife Isabel on the isolated Island called Janus Rock.  Isabel is happy with their life apart from one thing; she wants to have a child, and after three miscarriages this isn't looking like it will ever happen. Then one day a boat is washed up and in it a dead man and a small crying baby. They both make a decision that will change their lives, and others', forever.
Wake  No Harm Can Come to a Good Man The Shock of the Fall The Light Between Oceans

Revival by Stephen King


In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity. Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family; the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-thirties, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. 

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins


The story is told through the voices of three women; Rachel, Anna and Megan. Rachel travels on the train every day, looking out of the window at the house she once shared with her ex husband Tom. He now lives there with second wife Anna and their young daughter, living the life Rachel always wanted, but hers is now a mess. A few doors away lives Megan, who Rachel often sees from the train out on her terrace. Rachel invents a life and name for Megan but when the latter goes missing Rachel becomes heavily involved in trying to find out the truth.

I read a lot of psychological thrillers, it's a genre that I love and The Girl On The Train is one of the best I've read in a while.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters


 It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.


Civilization has crumbled.

A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.
But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.

Revival  The Girl on the Train The Paying Guests Station Eleven 

Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson


Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of sordid council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can't help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what.

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans


Ten year old Noel has lived with his Godmother Mattie in London since he was four. He has no family of his own so when she passes away he is looked after by her cousin and his wife before being evacuated to St Albans. He is sent to live with Vera (Vee) Sedge who has a plan to make money because of the war. When she takes Noel along with her she soon realises that he is a lot cleverer than she first supposed. Vee's son Donald is also making a living for himself by taking advantage of his heart condition, but will these schemes of the Sedge's go unnoticed or get them into trouble?

Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma  Crooked Heart




Friday, 5 December 2014

Book Beginnings On Fridays (Still Alice)

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.


This week my book beginning is Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I haven't been in much of a reading mood recently but decided to give this a go as it's been on my shelf for a while. I'm pleased to say I'm really enjoying it, as soon as I started Still Alice I could tell it was going to be good, my love of reading is now back.


Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing through each of the rooms on the first floor. She needed to finish her peer review of a paper submitted to the Journal of Cognitive Psychology before her flight, and she's just read the same sentence three times without comprehending it.


Still Alice 

Book Description:
When Alice finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease she is just fifty years old. A university professor, wife, and mother of three, she still has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But when she can't remember how to make her famous Christmas pudding, when she gets lost in her own back yard, when she fails to recognise her actress daughter after a superb performance, she comes up with a plan. But can she see it through? Should she see it through? Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging on by a couple of frayed threads.

But she is still Alic